We like to talk about the Jose Castillo Era as if it were a chapter from The Road -- some bleak, unmanageable wasteland that turned us into shells of ourselves. And it was! It was a dark and stormy couple of years. Suddenly, a double play was hit! A door slammed. The manager screamed. Suddenly, a small kayak appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the center fielder lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm team in Connecticut, a pitcher was hanging on to his 25-man-roster spot.
But while those years weren't exactly fun, think of the Astros this season. Like, holy oh my absolute goodness, look at the Astros. They're on pace for 110 losses. There's no way to describe that in terms that a Giants fan can understand. The worst team most of us remember is a 90 or 91-loss team. That team would be far, far ahead of the Astros right now. The worst San Francisco Giants team of all-time would have been ten games up on the 2011 Astros.
Oh, and the Astros' two best hitters are gone. Both to teams who just beat the snot out of the Giants with the help of said players. Thanks for the Keppinger, jerks.
It would be easy to turn this into a post with a spine of "Oh, man, the Astros are bad, and that means this is a laughably cynical post about how the Giants are going to blow this, yuk yuk." But, no, just marvel at how bad the Astros are. If the Giants lose this series, that's because baseball is baseball, where even a .300 team has to win three out of ten games, and those wins can come in any permutation. It is certainly possible for the Giants to sweep or be swept, just because it's baseball.
But, man, the Astros.
Wandy Rodriguez is on waivers right now, so they could trade him. Brett Myers too. It's not like those two have been Halladay/Lee this year, but if they're traded, the Astros can get worse. This team can get worse.
I don't know of a better way to put it than this: I'm not sure if there's a player in the Astros lineup who I'd take to put in the Giants lineup other than Clint Barmes, who is Clint Barmes. There are close calls -- Jose Altuve seems like he'll have a nice career, and J.D. Martinez has some skillz -- but considering that just about every interesting prospect they have in their lineup came straight from AA, it's hard to get a read on them. Still, for the next two months, I'd take Keppinger over Altuve and Huff over Martinez. Maybe your mileage will vary, and that isn't to say that those players won't be much, much better in time. Just talking about right now. Right now, this offense might be worse on paper than the Giants.
That's just on paper, though. Over the past couple weeks, they've been scoring more than the Giants. If that's not a sign to just say screw it and call up Joe Panik, Gary Brown, and that agent's son who was drafted in the 49th-round, I'm not sure what is.
Hitter to watch:
Matt Downs. Never forget. Padres. Two outs. Total WAR as a Giant: One. I don't care if that's not how that stat works.
Pitcher to watch
Henry Sosa, of course. He went from prospect from afterthought pretty quickly, but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in watching him pitch. I'm still a fan of the Keppinger trade, and at the same time, I'm hoping that the deal works out well for the Astros, too.
One of the Giants infielders twists an ankle while running up the hill in center field. Don't ask how. Just know that it's destiny.